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Changing Taxonomy

By Steve Jones,

We have a busy set of forums here at SQLServerCentral. In our forums we typically get hundreds of posts a day from quite a few users.  We have those heavy posters like Gilamonster and Lynn Pettis along with dozens of first timers on any given day. For the most part this system has worked well, but I end up sending regular emails to people that mis-post in the wrong forum as well as move dozens of posts every week. There are problem plenty I don't even notice since I can't track every post on a day, much less a week.

As I was working through my daily routine recently I noticed that someone had posted a question about a v6.5 backup in the 2005 backup forum  and I needed to move it. I went to do so only to discover that we didn't have a v6.5 backup forum. In fact we didn't have any v6.5 forums at all, so I created some and moved the post.

That was no big deal, but it got me thinking about the forums in general and I spent a few minutes wandering around, looking at how we set them up. When we started this site, SQL Server 2000 was starting to dominate and most people seemed to be upgrading from either SQL Server 7 or SQL Server v6.5. With the long  lifetime of SQL Server 2000, we kind of evolved our forums to match versions and added various places for the features and sections that we expected to see questions in.

However as we've now evolved through two additional versions of SQL Server, I'm starting to question or taxonomy a bit. First it's gotten quite large, with 17 forums under the SQL Server 7, 2000 area and most of those duplicated with SQL Server 2005. I haven't duplicated those for 2008, and I hesitate to do so. Having 50-80 forums for people to look through doesn't sound like the best idea. So….

Is it time to really change the way our forums work and classify things by function rather than version?

I'm not necessarily looking for anyone to come up with a plan, but more thinking out loud here, trying to get some ideas in front of people and see if you have any feedback. Since so many features and functions of this very large SQL Server platform remain the same, or similar, between versions, would we be better off with fewer, more general forums. Perhaps large areas like Administration, Development, BI, Career, etc. and then general sub-categories that will run across versions. Perhaps something like this for Administration:

  • Administration
    • General
    • Backup and Recovery (backup, restore, detach, attach)
    • Security and auditing (logins, users, roles, schemas)
    • High Availability (Mirroring, Clustering, Log Shipping)
    • Performance and Tuning
    • Replication
  • Development
    • T-SQL  - Any questions on the T-SQL language or code issues
    • .NET programming - With regards to querying SQL Servrs
    • SQL CLR - Assemblies
    • ?

Don't take these as my idea, as these are off the top of my head, but I'm thinking to just get a smaller set of categories and try and make it easy for people to get a question posted and answered. This isn't something that needs to be done, and I'm certainly not looking forward to the work of moving all the posts out there, but I did want to see if anyone things this is a good idea for the new year.

Steve Jones

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